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Newcastle United v Burton Albion – Time to put on a show

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Down to seven matches in the Championship and Newcastle still sit at the top of the tree. The finishing line is in sight, but they have to start by beating Burton Albion on Wednesday night.

Brighton & Hove Albion v Newcastle United - Sky Bet Championship
Rafa Benitez knows just how crucial the month of April will be for the club.
Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

In terms of injuries, Rafa Benitez has the same batch of players available that he did for the weekend victory over Wigan Athletic.

No injured stars are likely to be fit to make a return.

DeAndre Yedlin is “closer” according to the Magpies boss, but is not yet ready to play any part. Ciaran Clark will again join him on the sidelines, as he continues his recovery from a medial ligament problem sustained against Fulham. Grant Hanley will therefore continue in the heart of defence with Jamaal Lascelles.

Oxford United v Newcastle United - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round
Grant Hanley will likely deputise again for Ciaran Clark.
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Rolando Aarons is another who remains out, although he is edging closer to making his first appearance since August as he continues training.

Daryl Murphy is fit, but was left out of the match-day squad last time out. He could find himself being reinstated to the bench on Wednesday night.

Isaac Hayden did return to action against Wigan, coming on as a substitute. The man he replaced, Jack Colback, will be his competition for a starting berth.

Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle will be a shoe-in to start, after their goal-scoring performances earned the team a much needed three points on home soil.

Mo Diamé impressed, but looked tired late on. It would not be a surprise to see Ayoze Pérez replace him in the XI.

Burton boss Nigel Clough will have some decisions to make when it comes to naming his team.

Clough went with a very defensive system against Huddersfield, that involved five defenders and two holding midfielders.

He may have trouble naming the same side however, as defenders Tom Flanagan, John Brayford and Kyle McFadzean all picked up injuries in their shocking 1-0 win at the John Smith's stadium on Saturday. The expectancy is that they will make it, but if not, Damien McCrory is the only other recognized defender in contention.

Injury-plagued Shaun Barker has only played 4 competitive minutes of football this season and will not be considered.

Lucas Akins also suffered a knock in training on Monday and will face a late fitness test ahead of the game.

Top-scorer Jackson Irvine, who was away on international duty last week, will come back into the side after coming off the bench to score the stoppage-time winner at Huddersfield.

Huddersfield Town v Burton Albion - Sky Bet Championship
Jackson Irvine has scored ten times this season in the Championship.
Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Cauley Woodrow and Marvin Sordell started as the two main strikers last time out for Albion, but with the former also playing international football for the English U-21 side, Clough may rest him. That could mean the reintroduction of Lloyd Dyer (who scored against Newcastle in the reverse fixture) or Michael Kightly being deployed alongside Sordell.

Likely Line ups

Newcastle: Darlow, Gamez, Lascelles, Hanley, Dummett, Shelvey, Hayden, Ritchie, Pérez, Atsu, Gayle

Burton: McGlaughlin, Brayford, Mousinho, McFadzean, Turner, Flanagan, Irvine, Christensen, Murphy, Kightly, Sordell

Score prediction: Newcastle United 3-1 Burton Albion

The match has not been selected for TV coverage. You can follow along by tuning into BBC Radio Newcastle’s live match commentary, courtesy of the official NUFC website.